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Amazon Fires, Tropical Deforestation Underscores Urgency of Collaboration, Pragmatic Solutions

Record fires have brought renewed international attention to the deforestation of the Amazon and the global implications associated with the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Devastating fires in the Brazilian Amazon are wiping out thousands of acres of tropical rainforest, wreaking havoc on wildlife and local communities, and compounding the global climate crisis. This has been the most active year for fires in the Brazilian Amazon in nearly a decade, as farmers and ranchers open up more land for agriculture.

“The fate of the Amazon is at stake right now, and commercial farming is the largest driver of deforestation,” said Barbara Bramble, vice president of corporate engagement and international wildlife conservation at the National Wildlife Federation. “Companies and consumers want to buy products from Brazil with the confidence that their purchases are contributing to a more sustainable world — not destroying the rainforest. 

"The solutions already exist that would allow us to guarantee products are deforestation-free, and these can help ensure a sustainable future for Brazilian agriculture. But we need consumers and business leaders to stand up and make their demands loud and clear so that these solutions will be put in place. This is the only way to help guarantee a truly sustainable future for the Amazon.”

The fires in the Amazon will eventually subside, but the reputational impacts may linger into the future, unless companies, governments, and consumers make concerted efforts now to put Brazilian agribusiness back on the pathway to sustainability. This is a critical moment.

Brazil is one of the breadbaskets of the world, producing important crops that help feed millions of people around the globe. Agriculture is also a major centerpiece of the Brazilian economy. Most of the agricultural goods produced in Brazil are globally traded commodities, such as soy and beef, which can be sourced from many different parts of the world.

Over the past five years in Brazil, more than eight million acres of tropical rainforest in the Amazon, and an additional nine million acres of biodiverse wooded savanna in the Cerrado have been lost. For many companies and consumers, Brazilian agricultural products, especially beef, leather and soy (the leading drivers of deforestation) are becoming increasingly risky, due to sustainability concerns.

By implementing robust monitoring systems, prioritizing traceability and transparency, and advancing more sustainable production practices that help guarantee deforestation-free products, companies, governments and consumers can be confident in buying important global commodities from Brazil.

For more information, please visit: www.zerodeforestationcattle.org/

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